By: Blonde Two

Please note: campfires are wonderful, but you should only light them in your own garden or at campsites that have given permission. If you light fires whilst wild camping, you risk long-term damage to our beautiful environments.

‘What do King Alfred and a tampon have in common?’

It’s a great question, isn’t it? The sort of question I would have loved to have started a lesson with back in my teaching days (funny to say that but it is over a year now since I taught my last official lesson). Of course, like all good teachers, I have given a hint of the answer (well maybe the actual answer) in my title, but if you don’t know what King Alfred was doing with a cake, read on (you might also find out how to light a fire with a tampon).

Light a Fire with King Alfred’s Cake

We all know about King Alfred and how he burnt the cakes. He was hiding from the Vikings at the time (sensible I say) and the lady who gave him shelter asked him to watch her cakes, a task which appears to be simple but my sympathies here are with King Alfred because I have burnt many cakes. If we had these burnt offerings today they would maybe make good fire starters but we don’t and I am not about to sacrifice a cake to the experiment (mainly because I have some tampons and know how to start a fire with those).

There is, however, another type of King Alfred’s Cake. It is a round, black fungus that, when split open, takes a spark easily and holds a fire’s heated glow for some time (watch this blog space for my King Alfred’s Cake experiment).

Light a Fire with a Tampon

Unlike me, however, you are unlikely to find a round, black fungus at the bottom of your rucksack (well, a girl never knows when she will need one). What you almost certainly will find (if you are a girl) is a tampon. Lighting a fire with a tampon is so easy (and such fun) that I recommend having a go at it (in a safe and legal place). Here are 10 simple tampon fire lighting steps that will revolutionise your bush skills:

1.Remove the tampon from its plastic packaging.
2. Pull out the blue string (other colour strings are available). This step is more habit than necessity!
3. Smile to yourself about the fact that you are using something so ‘girly’ for such a ‘macho’ pursuit.
4. Fluff the tampon up a bit, pulling off the mesh covering as much as possible.
5. Add the ‘secret ingredient’ (alcoholic hand gel) in fairly generous amounts.
6. Put the tampon down next to a bundle of kindling (dried grass, small sticks, dried tree bark etc).
7. Light the tampon (limiting yourself to only one match is most satisfying).
8. Smile to yourself again and admit that you are having a lot of fun.
9. Carefully adjust your kindling to cover the tampon.
10. Blow until the flame catches the kindling and gradually add larger pieces of wood.

There you go! A tampon is a necessity to most girls when out on the hills but blokes, I really think it is time you started carrying one as well!

PS I am ashamed to admit that this was a three-match fire… but it was a windy day!